Path of the Assassin (aka: Hanzou no Mon) Vol. #07 -

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Mania Grade: A

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  • Art Rating: B-
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A
  • Age Rating: 18 & Up
  • Released By: Dark Horse
  • MSRP: 9.95
  • Pages: 304
  • ISBN: 1-59307-508-1
  • Size: Bunko
  • Orientation: Right to Left
  • Series: Path of the Assassin (aka: Hanzou no Mon)

Path of the Assassin (aka: Hanzou no Mon) Vol. #07

By Matthew Alexander     March 27, 2008
Release Date: September 27, 2007

Path of the Assassin (aka: Hanzou no Mon) Vol.#07
© Dark Horse

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Kazuo Koike / Goseki Kojima
Translated by:Naomi Kokubo with assistance by Jeff Carlson
Adapted by:Naomi Kokubo with assistance by Jeff Carlson

What They Say
Volume 7 continues the story of shogun-to-be Ieyasu Tokugawa, battling and politicking his way to the leadership of Edo-era Japan. To do so, he must survive assasination attempts, political sabotage, bloody battlefields, and a ferocious wife. And he does this with the help of his friend and vassal, the unstoppable ninja Hattori Hanzo.

The Review
Contains nudity and lots of sex.

This series continues to be an impressive feudal adventure. Until now, I've touted the greatness of the ninja battles and the convoluted intricacies of clan politics, but Koike can do more than just that. This volume of Path of the Assassin explores a softer side of Hanzo and Ieyasu, nicely breaking up any methodical routine of trickery and battle. Ieyasu is stuck in a loveless marriage and has to look for sex elsewhere. Not too surprising considering men of his stature could just take what they wanted, when they wanted. Even Hanzo tells him he should. However, Ieyasu is different from other men of his rank. He genuinely wants consensual sex with women that find him interesting, and he hopes the daughter of the mask-maker from the last volume is one of those girls. So Hanzo to the rescue once again. He comes up with a plan for Ieyasu to have liaisons with the peasant girl, while at the same time keeping his ogre-wife from believing the rumors of an affair that will surely rock Ieyasu's castle. All quite entertaining, I assure you.

But wait, another war isn't the second half of this volume. Koike spends a few chapters exploring Hanzo's relationship with his wife. This leads to a large amount of sexual intimacy and the ultimate realization that Tsukumo is pregnant. This news rattles Hanzo to his very core. He and Tsukumo are both ninja, so should they raise a child? It would probably be an amazing ninja, but the time needed to raise a child would be time Hanzo must be away from Ieyasu. The other half of the argument would be the fact that Hanzo's offspring could serve Ieyasu or his son. It's definitely a dilemma.

I really enjoyed the slower pace of this volume and the closer examination of Hanzo and Ieyasu's personal sides. There are also some chapters about their relationship as master/servant and whether or not they might truly be more like brothers. For those of you that breathe bloodbaths, don't worry, there is some ninja combat and political intrigue sprinkled throughout the lovemaking.


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